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Beware New Home Equity Scam

There are all sorts of real estate, home equity, mortgage fraud, home improvement and rental scams out there.

I've been getting several versions of this email urging me to provide information about my home equity line of credit account in order to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Since none of it makes any sense, it's clearly a phishing scam. But I can see it snaring an unsuspecting homeowner in extreme financial trouble.

Home Equity Line of Credit Scam

Here's the text of one of the emails I received. I haven't changed anything except for formatting:
We are in need of Home Equity line of credit account in USA or Canada? The funds are coming from the USA and they will have to be received through a Home Equity line of Credit in the USA or CANADA as this was the condition given. The funds are coming from a finance company. The funds are clear and not connected to any illegal activities as the finance company will contact the account holder first to confirm if he is aware that funds will be sent to his account . Even if the credit limit is a low as 100,000. The funds would be sent in installments. We have 5% to share as this payment. 3% the to connector . Please find someone with a credit line account in the USA or CANADA to receive the payment of $4.6M to be sent either at once or instrumentally. Below are the information needed for the funds to be wired to the credit line account by the buyer. After receiving the amount you will deduct 8% from the total amount sent immediately as our commission 5% 3% goes to the partner who brought the transaction. and send the rest will be send to the sellers of the property in Asia. Even if the credit limit is not up to the amount so far as it has a substantial credit limit, the funds could be wired in installments till the amount is completed. I need these information immediately...right now in order to wire the fund by Monday..
  1. Line of Credit account number:
  2. What is the credit limit on your Line Of Credit account USD $:
  3. What is balance presently owed on your Line Of Credit if any:
  4. The financial institution name address and phone number where your equity line of credit with:
  5. First Name:
  6. Last Name:
  7. Occupation:
  8. Date of Birth:
  9. Account number of checking or account attached to your credit line (If any):
  10. Address: City: State Zip code

It's a Scam Because...

What tips me off that this is a scam?
  • Typos/spelling mistakes. I've cut and pasted the document and if you look, you can clearly see all sorts of typos and spelling mistakes.
  • Grammatical errors. Phishing emails generally are written by folks for whom English isn't a first (or perhaps second or third) language. The language here shows it. It's full of half-sentences and thoughts that don't seem quite complete.
  • Implausible offer. These guys want you to have a home equity line of credit in the US or Canada that they can use to launder money. They've got $4.6 million they want to deposit into your account (not exactly how home equity line of credits or loans work, but hey, why be a stickler for details?), and then you'll deduct 8 percent as a fee for yourself and wire the rest to Asia. Sound easy, right?
  • They're asking for personal financial information. Anytime anyone asks you for bank account numbers, credit limits, name, social security numbers and other personal financial information, and wants you to fill out a form online or click through a link, it's a scam.
I'm sure you've had your share of insane too-good-to-be-true scams come through your email inbox. Feel free to share some of the most memorable here on our home equity scam forum.

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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and the upcoming Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com.